Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Diversity and Inclusion in the Arts Are Not Enough

Shawn C. Harris

Posted Sep 3 2014 by Shawn C. Harris in Crossroads and Intersections, The Marbury Project 

If you’re reading this, I’m going to assume three things about you. 

 *You care about women and people of color being involved in theatre. It bothers you when a show, season or organization is too male and too white. It doesn’t reflect the world you live in. It doesn’t reflect a world you want to live in. 

 *You need to hear from the people most impacted by how race and gender work in theatre. 

 *You want the truth, not what they think you want to hear because they don’t want to piss you off and lose an opportunity, a working relationship, or a friend or loved one. You are motivated to do something with the insight you gain. When we talk about race and gender in theatre, the words “diversity” and “inclusion” are not far from people’s lips and keyboards. In other words, the not-really-hidden question of where all the women and people of color are and how to bring more into the fold.

I know people are sincere and mean well, but there’s one big problem with “diversity” and “inclusion.” 

Put simply: it’s not enough.

To read more, please click here.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Benja Kay Thomas stars in BOOTYCANDY at Playwrights Horizons (NYC)

Phillip James Brannon, Jessica Francis Dukes, Benja Kay Thomas, and Lance Coadie Williams

BOOTYCANDY, a new play written and directed by Robert O'Hara, is being presented in its New York premiere at Playwrights Horizons' Mainstage Theater (416 West 42nd Street) as the opening production of the company's 2014/2015 Season. Opening Night is Wednesday, September 10, 2014. BroadwayWorld has a first look at the cast in action below! The cast features Phillip James Brannon, three-time Helen Hayes Award nominee Jessica Frances Dukes, Jesse Pennington, Audelco Award winner Benja Kay Thomas and Lance Coadie Williams. Sutter (Mr. Brannon) is on an outrageous odyssey through his childhood home, his church, dive bars, motel rooms and even nursing homes. A kaleidoscope of sketches that interconnect to portray growing up gay and black, Robert O'Hara's subversive, uproarious satire crashes headlong into the murky terrain of pain and pleasure and... Bootycandy. The production features scenic and costume design by Clint Ramos, lighting design by two-time Tony Award nominee Japhy Weideman, sound design by Lindsay Jones, projection design by Aaron Rhyne and hair and make-up design by Dave Bova. Production Stage Manager is Marisa Levy.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

DANCING AT DUNBAR September 6th (LA)


The Heidi Duckler Dance Theatre will perform a site specific dance celebrating Los Angeles' legendary Dunbar Hotel at the hotel. Based on "Life's Tragedy and Sympathy," two poems by Paul Laurence Dunbar. During the segregated era when African-Americans were not allowed to stay at major hotels, it became the hangout for such legends as Langston Hughes, Paul Robeson, Duke Ellington, Billie Holiday, and Lena Horne. It hosted the first NAACP national convention in the western US. 

Tickets can be bought here.

A "Tip of the Backward-wearing Kangol" to David Mack for bringing this to our attention.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Jackie Wilson returns to DC

Please click image to enlarge.
The Eve of Jackie returns to Washington, DC for two performances at Bethesda Blues & Jazz Supper Club, September 20 & 21, 2014. Starring the award winning, Broadway performer - Chester Gregory asJackie Wilson.

The Eve of Jackie, a raw and jaw-dropping tour de force musical tribute to Jackie Wilson.  Set in September 1975 the show is an incredible look at Jackie Wilson and his last complete performance, the night before he collapses on stage. Draped with this show is a flashback to that concert in which the great artist felt compelled to share details of his troubled life.  Chester Gregory masterfully performs many of the singer’s signature hits and expertly executes his awe-inspiring trademark moves. 

After stepping foot on the music scene in the late 1950s as a solo artist, Jackie Wilson forever changed the face of Pop Culture.  Known for his dynamic stage presence and cross-over hits like “Higher and Higher,” “Lonely Teardrops,” “My Empty Arms,” “Alone at Last” and “Baby Workout,” Jackie Wilson has inspired legions of entertainers from Elvis Presley to the King of Pop, Michael Jackson. Inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1987, Wilson had more than 20 Top-40 pop-chart hits. No wonder they called him “Mr. Excitement,” a charismatic showman who commanded a stage like few before or since, and Chester captures every nuance, from Jackie’s natural tenor to his signature moves.

About Chester Gregory;
Chester Gregory is a Gary native and Broadway veteran best known from his roles in Sister ActDreamgirls, Hairspray, Tarzan, Cry Baby, and Shrek the Musical. Chester studied at Emerson Visual and Performing Arts School, and Columbia College, graduating with his Bachelor of Fine Arts degree. Through dedication and hard work he built his passion for the arts into a career, making a name for himself when he burst onto the theater scene as Jackie Wilson in original production of "The Jackie Wilson Story" for which he received major acclaim such as, The Jeff, AUDELCO, BTAA and Black Excellence Awards.

Directed by Da’Vine Joy Randolph, with Musical Direction by Rob Lewis. The show is co-written by Crystal Lucas and Chester himself.

Bethesda Blues & Jazz Supper Club
The Bethesda Theater, built in 1938 and opened as one of the era's Art Deco cinema palaces, has come back to life! With an $8 million renovation, this National Historic Register Property is the region's #1 Live Music Supper Club! Located 1 1/2 blocks from the Bethesda Metro station. The Cheltenham Parking Garage is located behind the Club.

Tickets are $17.50-$37.50 and are available at The Bethesda Blues and Jazz supper Club’s box office or by visiting Home

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Acting and Playwriting Workshop (NYC)

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Thursday, July 24, 2014

4th Annual "48 Hours in Harlem" opens August 17th (Harlem)


6 Playwrights
6 Directors
18 Actors
giving raw impressions of 6 black plays.

Sunday, August 17th at 7pm
National Black Theatre
2031 5th Avenue (@125th Street)

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Pre-Sale Tickets: $25.00
$30.00 at door (limited number)

Buy tickets here.

To learn more, please click here.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Stephanie Lynn Wilson's SILK STOCKINGS AND A BIBLE 8/27 (NYC)

Stephanie Lynn Wilson

AFTER A SUCCESSFUL SOLD OUT PERFORMANCE OF PLAY #1 TITLED "THE GRINDER" WE'RE BACK WITH PLAY #2! 

SILK STOCKINGS AND A BIBLE, THE SECOND PLAY IN THE TRILOGY "WOMEN YOU THOUGHT YOU KNEW," ABOUT WOMEN PERCEIVED AS SOCIETY'S "BAD GIRLS", IS SET IN HARLEM AND ATLANTIC CITY DURING THE SWING ERA. IT TELLS THE TALE OF FANNIE MAE BROWN, A CHORUS GIRL WHO BECOMES A CHURCH LADY WITH A PAST...

ARE HER REGRETS OF HER SPICY PAST OR OF HER AUSTERE PRESENT?


WRITTEN, DIRECTED, PRODUCED BY STEPHANIE LYNN WILSON 
STARRING KRYSTAL HILL AS GIRL FANNIE MAE BROWN 
STACEY GRIFFIN AS THE SAILOR JOSEPH CHARLES 
MICHELLE ROBINSON AS DORIS 
LASALLE CHUK OBASI AS BUDDY 
EREN T. GIBSON AS SASSY AND 
 SANTI RODRIGUEZ AS SAMMY G. 

$25 in advance/$30 at door 
For more information and to buy tickets, please click here.
~~~~~~~~~~ 
A scene from this play was chosen to be performed at the 2014 Harlem Arts Festival

Look for the full production of all three plays 
in the same run of the entire trilogy in early 2015! 

The staged reading of the third play in the trilogy "Wild Child" TBA 
Follow @trilogyofwomen on Twitter 

WILSON EXCLUSIVE TALENT PRODUCTIONS IS FISCALLY SPONSORED BY MEGA NATIONAL ARTS ORGANIZATION FRACTURED ATLAS

Monday, July 14, 2014

Khalil Kain to star in Nathan James' "Contrary to Popular Belief" reading TONIGHT (NYC)


Tonight!  July 14, 2014    7:30pm  
The Cell Theater
(338 W. 23rd Street b/t 8th and 9th Avenues)


The cast list is in for Nathan James' full length play, Contrary to Popular Belief, at The Black Board Reading series: Khalil Kain (well known for GIRLFRIENDS and JUICE), Toccarra Cash, James Edward Becton III, Carter Woodson, Norman Small, Mckenzie Frye, Evander Duck, and Ryan Guess. 

Synopsis:
On the South side of Pittsburgh, there is a business district that’s stretches along East Carson Street, which is home to shop owner, Kevin Evans, who struggles to keep his life together amidst his estranged brother missing in New Orleans and a failing marriage.  Contrary to Popular Belief is a play about love, betrayal, regret, and forgiveness surrounding the controversial events of the Hurricane Katrina disaster.  The play is set in Kevin’s shop, Debonair’s, in the fall of 2005 in the critical hours of the warning to evacuate New Orleans.  In the midst of this national disaster the characters in this play must find a way to cope as they also deal with going through the storms in their personal lives.  With the revealing of dark family secrets, infidelity, and the threat a Debonair’s license to operate being revoked, Kevin and the shop employees take us on a journey through their personal storms as they struggle to keep their head above water to survive. Contrary to Popular belief explores the causes of the unaddressed stress levels causing hyper tension for many African Americans, questions the government, and addresses the domino effect racism has played on the state of many black communities today.

Written by Nathan James
Directed by Cezar Williams
Stage directions are being read by Stori Ayers .

Come out to the Cell Theater on July 14th at 7:30 pm. More information at: 
www.blackboardplays.com

Monday, July 7, 2014

8-More African-Born Writers You Should Be Reading

A. Igoni Barrett
Fiction can be a revealing window into cultures that are unfamiliar to us — and reading the work of an author who lives in another country or was born across the world from us can elucidate a different point of view. Whether it be a country’s political situation, the lexicon, the history, or the people, immersing oneself in the fiction of a specific nation, region, or even an entire content can provide an opportunity to better understand other places and experiences. And, as a recent New York Times article noted, this is an especially great time for literature from Africa and by authors who were born there:
The flowering of new African writers is “an amazing phenomenon,” said Manthia Diawara, a professor of comparative literature and film at New York University. “It is a literature more about being a citizen of the world — going to Europe, going back to Lagos,” he said. “Now we are talking about how the West relates to Africa and it frees writers to create their own worlds. They have several identities and they speak several languages.”
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Helen Oyeyemi, Ishmael Beah, NoViolet Bulawayo, and other African-born writers who have experienced success in America are all cited, including Lagos-born Teju Cole, who took to Twitter to point out something the article touches on a bit, but that deserves extra emphasis: “too many literary publishers would rather put out work by writers from Africa than work by African-Americans because in the current climate the Africans are considered more appealing for what is seen as a ‘black slot.’”
As that very necessary conversation — about a sad reality that the publishing world needs to address immediately — continues, the fact remains that an abundance of fantastic literature is coming out of Africa right now. That’s something to celebrate, so to help you do that, we offer a few other suggestions of African-born writers whose work you should seek out.
To continue reading, please click here.